Big News from the Office of Pennsylvania Governor Wolf today! While there does not yet seem to be an Order, the Governor’s Office issued a press release today outlining significant changes to targeted COVID-19 business restrictions in Pennsylvania.
On April 4, 2021, the following changes will be implemented:
- May resume bar service for the first time since November 23, 2020.
- Alcohol may be served without the purchase of food.
- The 11 pm cut off for alcohol sales and the 12 midnight curfew for removing alcoholic drinks from tables will both end.
- For restaurants that self-certify compliance with COVID-19 mitigation protocols, capacity will increase to “up to” 75%. (50% for restaurants that do not self-certify.)
- Outdoor dining, curbside pickup, and takeout remain encouraged.
- Other Businesses
- Capacity for personal services facilities (hair salons, barbers, nail salons), gyms, and entertainment facilities (casinos, theaters and malls) will be increased to up to 75% capacity.
- Events (including attendance at sporting events)
- Indoor events capped at 25% of maximum capacity.
- Outdoor events capped at 50% of maximum capacity.
NOT changing are Pennsylvania’s statewide mask mandate and social distancing (6 feet) rule. This latter requirement is very important here, as all of the above capacity limitations are further limited by social distancing. That is, if you can only accommodate for example 60% capacity with the required social distancing, then your establishment is limited to 60% capacity. Furthermore, the Governor’s plan does not replace local restrictions, which can be more restrictive. Right now, Philadelphia has stricter restrictions than the state as a whole. We will have to see if it relaxes its rules and/or if other counties impose more stringent rules.
Overall, though, the Governor’s Announcement is great news, as it means Pennsylvanians are one step closer to normalcy–and that the pandemic continues to subside in the Commonwealth.